ESPN

The Complete Receiver

Once a no-name sixth-round pick out of Central Michigan, the Steelers'
ANTONIO BROWN has transformed into one of the NFL's best receivers. Here's how.

Breaking FreeCrazy but true: Brown is one of only five players in the Super Bowl era to have at least 75 catches and 1,000 receiving yards in his team's first 10 games. The scary thing? Brown, 26, says he can still get better. Here, the five-year vet shows us how he gets open so often. By Scott Brown

1

"I'm looking at the ball; you've got to get off the snap. I already have a feel for whoever is across from me because I've studied him all week and figured out his tendencies. I watch the safeties pre-snap to get a feel for how they're going to cover me on a given play. They usually dictate the coverages."

2

"You try to reduce wasted movement. I want to stay tight to him. That way, there is minimal hand fighting. I know if I get position, I've got a great quarterback who will give me a chance to win. I also like to keep my elbows up when I'm running. It scares the DB because he doesn't know where I'm going, and it keeps him in chase mode."

3

"I try to pull my hands through one at a time. If I'm facing a guy who likes to chicken fight, I put a hand on his hip to buy a little time and get better position. In the offseason, I practice not slowing down when the ball is in the air. You have to keep your position and give the QB space to put the ball."

4

"You never know where the ball is going to come. That's why you always keep your feet moving, even after you look back at the quarterback. The last thing you want is the QB to overthrow you. When making the catch, you have to go up and attack the ball. This is where doing your power squats and power lunges pays dividends."

5

"I practice this all the time: You place one foot and drag the other. Usually, whatever foot is down last is the one that I drag."

The Scramble DrillSince 2013, Brown has scored an NFL-high five TDs with his QB under pressure. The reason? As Browns CB Joe Haden told ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler: "Brown is just really, really good at feeling where Ben Roethlisberger is and working without the ball." Here's how the duo turned a busted play into a 47-yard score versus the Colts in Week 8. BY FIELD YATES

1

It's a two-man route, meaning the Steelers have called for max protection to keep Roethlisberger upright. When Indy shows corners-over coverage (both CBs playing on one side of the field), Big Ben knows he's getting man-to-man on the outside.

2

Sticky coverage by Colts CB Greg Toler leaves Brown covered at the top of his route. As Roethlisberger rolls to the right, Brown knows he must make his way across the field to give his QB any chance of delivering an accurate ball.

3

Martavis Bryant's route draws the safety to the left side of the field, allowing Brown to slide into an opening in the defense. When Roethlisberger delivers a strike, Brown has an easy score -- albeit on an unscripted play.

Brown's Big NumbersHow's this for a stat line: Entering Pittsburgh's Week 11 game vs. Tennessee, Brown led the league in both catches and receiving yards over the last two seasons, and he's on pace to turn in one of the best seasons ever by a wide receiver. Not bad for a sixth-round pick. BY SCOTT T. MILLER

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